The Los Angeles Lakers would probably love a do-over on the Russell Westbrook trade right about now. They are a disappointing 22-23 through 45 games due in large part to Westbrook’s disappointing season, and on Wednesday, he was benched for the final 3:52 of their loss to the Indiana Pacers. With the trade deadline approaching, the Lakers would happily listen to offers for their declining point guard, but very few teams even have the necessary matching salary to make a deal feasible. Fewer would be interested in acquiring a 33-year-old with declining athleticism and no 3-point shot.
But there is one team that is open to acquiring Westbrook, according to Marc Stein, and it’s a team he’s pretty familiar with: the Houston Rockets. The Rockets are uniquely positioned to make a Westbrook trade because they employ a player that was already traded for Westbrook once before: John Wall. Wall and Westbrook have identical contracts. Both are making roughly $44 million this season and have player options for roughly $47 million next season. Wall hasn’t played at all for Houston this season, so it’s not as though Houston would be losing much in swapping him for Westbrook. It would, in essence, boil down to trading one veteran they aren’t using for another.
But that doesn’t mean the Rockets are going to do the Lakers any favors. According to Stein, they are seeking a hefty price: the Lakers’ 2027 first-round pick. That is the next available first-round pick the Lakers can trade due to restrictions involving the Stepien Rule and all of the first-rounders they gave away in the Anthony Davis deal. No current player on the Laker roster is under contract until 2027, meaning that pick could potentially be quite valuable. LeBron James will turn 43 in 2027 and will